U.S. Equity Markets reversed earlier gains, closing mixed as the NASDAQ 100 led the declines with a fall of 0.61%. Economic data were mixed. Manufacturing PMI hit a record high this month, boosted by optimism among manufacturers. Along with a strong reading in Services PMI, this helped the Composite PMI reading come in well above estimates. That is a good sign for economic growth. Existing Home Sales, on the other hand, did not fare so well, falling for the fourth straight month. Once again, the weakness here was driven by a lack of available supply, not a lack of demand. There were a few Federal Reserve speakers on Friday, but very little new commentary came out. Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker again said that he thinks it is time to have a conversation on tapering asset purchases. But Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin said that there is still room to run in the labour market until the Fed reaches its goals. This echoed previous commentary from the Fed, signalling that policy will remain intact. European Markets again closed higher after a volatile week. Markit Euro-Zone’s preliminary composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (“PMI”) data for May were stronger than expected, driven by rebounding services activity. Germany’s Bundesbank said the country’s economy could leave the pandemic behind by the Autumn if the pace of COVID-19 inoculations remains where it is. Portuguese Finance Minister Joao Leao said the country is likely to raise its economic growth forecast for this year to 5% as tourism returns. In Asia, China’s State Council said more steps must be taken to ensure rising commodity costs are not passed on to consumers, after having said it is willing to augment raw material supplies. Markit Japan’s preliminary composite PMI data for May weakened versus April, falling back into contraction territory, as renewed coronavirus restrictions were a drag on the services index. South Korea’s preliminary export data for May rose versus April, as automobile and semiconductor shipments remained strong. Australia’s preliminary retail sales data for April were stronger than expected, despite the lack of stimulus support, signalling economic momentum is building. Elsewhere, Bitcoin fell 11%, after Chinese Vice Premier Liu He made more comments on a possible crackdown on cryptocurrencies, while Oil rebounded 2.65% after Thursday’s aggressive sell-off.
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